Surveying the Damage

While in a holding pattern, some organizations are pivoting from content production to information gathering. It’s a smart move, given consumers are less likely to respond to being pitched on a product that doesn’t fulfill a basic quarantine need (health care, food, supplies, entertainment, etc.). In addition, conducting a survey generally is a low-cost effort that provides audiences with useful information while illustrating up-to-date knowledge of a given industry.

Some survey highlights:

WalletHub, a credit reporting site, polled more than 200 small business owners. With information overload at an all-time high, concision and clarity are paramount. WalletHub’s release centers on a simple infographic. In addition, bullet points that follow (crucial for alt-text/SEO purposes) are effective. The publisher is clear about sample size and methods, noting the timeframe of the survey (March 25-27). It also states, “After all responses were collected, we normalized the data by age, gender and income so the sample would reflect U.S. demographics.”

Not surprisingly, 87 percent of small business owners say their businesses are "hurting" from the virus. 68 percent think "the government is not doing enough to help" them now. On the other hand, 79 percent say "minimizing COVID deaths is more important than re-opening the economy."

Global research firm Gartner ran a March 20 survey of 176 CMOs that found 65 percent are bracing for budget cuts. In a release announcing key findings (also pitched to, and covered by trade publication Marketing Dive), Gartner’s Marketing arm connected the results to other recent findings. That move showed its advisory chops and shared an actionable tip: form an internal “tiger team” of marketers to optimize costs as pre-COVID business plans are scrapped. Gartner’s press release and subsequent coverage should cue PR pros to focus pitching on trades, as opposed to consumer-facing pubs.

Podcasting listenership has dipped, according to podcast usage analytics company Podtrac. With daily news podcasts a staple of commutes, those working from home are turning to more traditional news outlets (including cable TV), writes Digital News Daily’s Karlene Lukovitz. True crime podcasts are down 30 percent; perhaps that audience is streaming (per Nielsen, video streaming jumped 85 percent in March).

Firms that invested in surveys before the outbreak may be struggling to release information in a way that feels relevant. A new Manifest SEO guide makes use of survey data from 500 small businesses as it prevails on those businesses to invest in SEO. The COVID-oriented opening is a little clunky, and the “About the Survey” paragraph might lend more credence to survey data if it were closer to the top of the page.

However, the guide provides useful information; SEO is a major concern as COVID results gobble up SERP real estate. While pitching pre-COVID surveys may feel strange, honing in on the usefulness of those results to your audience in the current crisis could be pivotal to securing coverage. If they’re not useful now–and be sure to reflect on that before hitting “send”—then it’s probably best to shelve results for an evergreen story down the line.

This article is part of PRNEWS' daily COVID-19 coverage, click here to see the latest updates.